“The initial fee structure has underestimated the amount of SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) vape stores sell. The fees will need to be reduced to make the scheme feasible for companies, and to deliver the Ministry of Health’s goal of meeting their costs to implement the new regulations without unduly profiting from the industry. We appreciate the proposal to give the industry nine months to implement product packaging changes, and we’re hoping the Ministry is equally reasonable on other regulatory timeframes,” said Jonathan Devery, the co-owner of VAPO, Kiwi-owned vape company.
Moreover, he added, vaping and smoking must be regulated in a different manner which reflects their relative risks. “Unlike Big Tobacco selling vaping products here, local manufacturers and brands like ours are just not geared up to make quick changes. It’s important Kiwi-made vape products remain competitive, otherwise Big Tobacco wins with all their revenue exported overseas.”
International companies with deeper pockets, will benefit over local brands
Loucas agrees and believes that vapers and tobacco harm reduction supporters should use this latest lockdown, to make a submission on the proposal. “Never waste a lockdown, and that includes Auckland’s snap lockdown. Sadly, as a country we’re miles off achieving Smokefree 2025 but if we don’t get these vaping regulations right, we never will,” she said.
She pointed out that the local industry also has a vested interest to submit, because as it stands if the proposed regulations are enforced, international companies with deeper pockets who can afford the suggested fees, will benefit over local brands. In this submission the the AVCA said they “believe that ‘Made in New Zealand’ products, such as juice, should have a reduced fee schedule in order to benefit our local people.”
The independent industry will struggle to comply with the nine-month timeframe
With regards to the packaging related proposal, the AVCA said the independent vape industry will struggle to comply with the suggested nine-month timeframe for compliance. Instead, local businesses should be granted between 15 to 18 months.
“This latest lockdown is a timely reminder that local vape businesses, and the thousands of Kiwi vapers who rely on their service, remain vulnerable. Let’s not strangle our Kiwi vape businesses with unrealistic costs and deadlines and in turn limit access to the safer alternative for our people, whilst leaving the deadly alternative readily available in every dairy, supermarket and petrol station. That would be a terrible outcome,” said Loucas
Voice your opinion!
AVCA is offering free Facebook Live sessions to help consumers and those interested to make a submission on the proposals. The first one takes place at 7.00pm on Thursday, 18 February NZDT. Keyword: NZAVCA
To make a submission by 5.00pm on 15 March, visit https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/smokefree-environments-and-regulated-products-act-1990-proposals-regulations